Each Thanksgiving, millions of Americans crowd around their TV to watch the Macy’s Day Parade. Children and adults alike gawk at intricate floats, sparkling Broadway performances, and massive balloons as they make their way through New York City. This year, however, viewers didn’t have to tune in to the network’s coverage of the parade. Macy’s embraced a new kind of stream: the 360-degree live stream.
Though the floats may stay the same, technology does not. Thanks to Verizon, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was able to test out a new way to share its experience with the world. The phone provider sponsored a 360-degree live stream to be beamed from its YouTube account during the parade. Viewers could change their view to see upcoming floats, people in the crowd, or balloons floating by balconies. Announcers were on hand to let viewers know what was coming up (and mention Verizon’s sponsorship, of course).
I checked the live stream myself several times during the parade. It was exciting to see the route as if I were actually on the streets of NYC. However, it lacked the charisma that the network’s feed has. This could be for a number of reasons. Networks have been showing the parade for years; they understand how it works, which angles are best, and show a wide array of performances. The facts and stories that are scattered throughout the coverage can be interesting as well.
However, Verizon’s live stream did have one major plus: no commercials. Since Verizon sponsored the event solo, there were no interruptions. It felt a lot more natural to Netflix natives like myself.
All in all, I’m very interested to see where this goes. Will they use 360 degree live streams next year? Will other events follow in Macy’s footsteps? Only time will tell.